(U.S.) – A review of 10 years of data on sleep-related infant deaths found that about 3% of deaths occurred in a sitting device, most often a car safety seat that was not being used at the time for travel.
The study, “Infant Deaths in Sitting Devices” in the July 2019 issue of Pediatrics (published online May 20) analyzed data on infants who died during sleep or in a sleep environment from 2004 to 2014, based on data from the National Center for Fatality Review and Prevention.
Of 11,779 infant sleep-related deaths, 348 (3%) occurred in sitting devices. The majority of those deaths occurred in car seats (219 deaths, or 62.9%); followed by bouncers, swings or devices (122 deaths, or 35.1%); and strollers (7 deaths, or 2%).
Among the deaths in car seats, fewer than 10% (20 cases) occurred in the context of the car seat being used as directed, such as the infant being strapped into an appropriately-sized car seat and while the infant was being transported in a vehicle, either parked or in motion.
While car seats are a safe and effective way of transporting an infant and should always be used when transporting an infant in a motor vehicle, they should not be used as an alternative to a crib or bassinet.
Children who fall asleep in a car safety seat while traveling in a motor vehicle should remain in the car seat until travel ends. Upon reaching a destination, children who are still sleeping should be placed in a crib or bassinet.
AAP recommends that infants always sleep alone, on their backs on a firm, flat surface with no soft bedding.